While historically I’ve treated the work of the DC universe (not including the Vertigo group) as a collection of lesser works in the superhero genre, often to be ignored, primarily (and wrongly) based on an “us versus them” mentality as a fan of the Marvel universe, I have recently began delving into this other world. Of the DC pantheon I’ve usually given a pass to what I would consider their premier property Batman, and so naturally I initially gravitated to various story lines and spin offs to begin wading more deeply into these foreign waters.
One very unique, and now defunct title, is the police procedural Gotham Central, written by Ed Brubaker and Gregg Rucka, and penciled by Michael Lark. While this book has the standard fare of the superhero story, the costumed hero and likewise outfitted villains, the storyline is primarily centered on the struggles of police detectives in a world where the caped crusader exists as both as an ally to the crime problem and as someone who challenges their authority and ability to be an effective crime fighting force. This book takes a title like Batman and puts it in a very real “Law and Order” context.
The scope of the first five issues follows detective Driver as he and his partner(s) search for a girl believed to be kidnapped, through which the course of the story involves the infamous Mr. Freeze as well as a costumed arsonist. Despite the obvious opportunity for the book to be mired in comic book action, the writers have adeptly put the objective of hunting super villains into the hands of supporting cast members, This allows the pace of the story is not so much dictated by action, but by the realistic leg work of our primary protagonist and his very real world objective.
By the completion of this first leg of this title I have been left wanting more, without feeling that it needed more, and comes with a high recommendation from myself.